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Practical Dreamer

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Practical Dreamer


Published 1957


A fantasy of kitchen planning and modernization. With Augusta Roeland and Rege Cordic. Produced by Haford Kerbawy.


Run time 13:17
Producer Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor U.S. Steel Company
Audio/Visual Sd, C

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Reviews

Reviewer: ShariD57 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2016
Subject: A Sign of The Times
#1- It was a commercial. Long, yes, but a commercial nonetheless. For a major US corporation, USS, better known as US STEEL.
#2 - It was 1957, and gender roles and expectations were indeed etched in stone. Women were in charge of the home and the children, and pampering the man of the house, AKA The King of the Castle. Men were in charge of bringing home the money/paycheck/bacon, and mowing the grass, maybe taking out the trash, washing the car, and all the other outside "manly" chores. Not housework, which was still very clearly the Woman's domain. His job ended at 5PM, when the office was done for the day with its work, or when his shift at the factory ended, at 3 or 11, or however his employment was structured. After that, HIS workday was done, and the rest of his day was his to do pretty much as he pleased, including and especially sitting in his chair and reading HIS newspaper, especially the Sports pages, with minor exceptions from time to time. But, as they say, "A man may work from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done."
#3 - It's still 1957, and men and women, even married couples with children, which implies at least occasional sexual activity, were never allowed by the "Codes of Decency" in force at the time, to sleep together in a double bed. Twin beds were the norm, the standard, and the only acceptable option available. (Even in real life, many married couples slept in twin beds.) A man wasn't allowed to take both feet off the floor if he even sat on the side of his wife's bed, on TV. One foot had to remain on the floor visible at all times. A pregnant woman was rarely shown all the way through her pregnancy, and if she was, as in 1951's "Father's Little Dividend" with Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy, her "baby bump" was fairly obscured by her voluminous outfits, or standing behind furniture. Most of the time, we went from the big announcement of "I'm going to be a FATHER!" totally ignoring mother's contribution, to suddenly there lays the beaming mother, not a hair out of place, accepting her pink, clean, wide eyed, spotless newborn from the equally beaming student nurse in spotless uniform and perky white cap, just bringing him/her in for first introductions. I think Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy" was the first to follow a pregnancy through the whole process during the progression of her show. But they were still never allowed to use the word "pregnant" on TV. It was only referred to verbally as "expecting" or some other vague euphemisms.
#4 - Guess what? It's still 1957. And it's a commercial for US Steel, owned, operated and controlled by rich, cigar chomping, three piece suit wearing, middle aged white guys who have all control and everything to say about what their commercials could say and how. And they were not ABOUT to go off in left field showing, saying, or being anything except what middle class conformist America expected and would accept, because that was their market, and they wouldn't do ANYTHING to offend or otherwise put off their millions of potential customers and their millions of home building and home remodeling discretionary dollars.
#5 - It's still 1957, and the next 10 years, landing us right smack into the Summer of Love of 1967, as well as the horrors of Viet Nam right in the middle of our living rooms on national television, seemed unimaginable and light years away from the conformist 1950's.
Reviewer: doowopbob - favoritefavorite - April 16, 2009
Subject: Kitchen Affair....
Not Happy With Bob In The Bedroom (And Those Are Some Cheezo Beds!)....Edie Gets Her Cookies Off In A Sureal Kitchen....With A Strange Man...Then She Goes Back To Bed & Bob Never Hears Her Moaning With Delight On The Squeaky Bedsprings!
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2004
Subject: Fraudulent Family Life
Edie, a lonely housewife, carries on a nighttime conversation with a disembodied male voice about her dream kitchen in this Jam Handy film. Edie leaves her snoring husband Bob and comes downstairs for milk and cookies (the fifties panacea). But the kitchen has disappeared. Shes on nothing but an empty soundstage. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Relax, Edie, everythings all right, says the hidden narrator. Usually in these films, when the unseen male narrator enters the womans house uninvited with suggestions about her household (which always involve selling her a product), it reflects how little control women have over their private spaces. This film gives it a new twist. Edie is so lonely that her conversations with the narrator have an element of pathos. As Edie and the narrator talk about her dream kitchen, its apparent how desolate Edies life is. We see her working in her kitchen as her family ignores herBob reads the paper and her children play a board game. No one looks at her or offers to help. The kitchen itself is nothing more than a stage set after all, with the cabinets and appliances set up on it. Its surrounded by empty space. We see the same imagery, the fifties family in the stage-set house, in American Look and The Golden Years. These images show how fragile (and isolated) the American family actually is. It also tells the truth about how little real privacy the family hastheyre sitting ducks for every sales pitch that comes along. Edies fate is no different. The male voice turns out to be from US Steel, trying to get her to buy a set of banal steel cabinets. He disappears, but not before leaving her a sales brochure. No wonder Edies still awake at 1:30 am, lying in bed, restlessly dangling a shoe. She should put them on and get away from this scene of sham domesticity.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 7, 2004
Subject: "eeeeeeek!"
This film is quite similar to 'Once Upon A honeymoon' where the woman literally dreams of her fantasy kitchen, but it's somewhat less fun (anything would be with the loss of Grover Champion). In this, a insomniac woman goes into her kitchen to find out that it's GONE! Then a disemodied voice goads her into designing her own fantasy kitchen. "But how? I wouldnt know where to begin?" the narrator then tirelessly gives us kitchen options she can choose from (double sinks??? Who woulda thought!) After laying out all these options, ditzy housewife still can't make up her mind about what kind of kitchen she wants, so finally the narrator gives her a pamphlet summarizing what he just said. She then wonders aloud in bed whether the whole thing was a dream or not. She still has the pamphlet... here's a great clue to see if the dream was real. If it was, your kitchen would still be gone hahahahaha.
Reviewer: K.P. Lee - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 14, 2003
Subject: I dreamed of home improvement!
A very strange film. Poor Edie. Instead of exciting dreams about flying through the air or having passionate sex, Edie dreams about redoing her kitchen. Most of the advice she receives from the disembodied voice in her dream ("it's not really important"?) is sound advice that would be applicable to designing a kitchen today, though many of the steel cabinets and counters would be considered dated. (Of course the counters and cabinets are steel. U.S. Steel is the sponsor.) The fifties-style illustrations are interesting.

The most fascinating aspect of this movie is parade of gender-role expectations that appear in every domestic scene. Edie and her husband Bob sleep in separate beds. While Edie works in the kitchen, Bob and the childen David and Debbie don't contribute at all to the housework. Husband Bob sits there reading a newspaper while Edie scurries around readying a meal and pouring his coffee. The childen are sitting around doing no chores. Not only are Edie's husband and children unhelpful, they even get in the way!

It's a wonder that the Edie's of the era didn't simply murder their families during the 50's. Perhaps the rage that many women probably felt at the time was sublimated into kitchen design.
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